Saju George SVD: Thank you, Gabriela for your generosity in sharing your lived experiences of the Easter mystery. I would like to ask you to introduce yourself
I am Gabriela Medina, wife of Joseph Maniaci and mother of Tobias. I am a school principal. I am involved in the pastoral activities of my SVD parish and I collaborate as a member of the Arnoldina Family.
Saju: What are your faith experiences?
Gabi: Lord, who am I that you want me to accompany you? Mercy is the first thing that marks me since some years ago, when I go to confession for these dates of the Paschal Mysteries.
Saju: What do you do and what do you want to do again during the holy week?
Gabi: To look at the Cross, to embrace the Cross. What I would like to do during Holy Week is to live fully this road to Calvary with Jesus, although many times I have fled like the disciples. I have also experienced the merciful look he had for Peter and I have cried when I saw that for me; He let Himself be tortured and die in this way. I know what the Cross meant for St. Arnold and it means for the consecrated members of his congregations and for us, the lay partners.
Saju: How do you begin the Holy Week?
Gabi: The happiness of my brothers on Palm Sunday, waiting for that branch to bring them a blessing, a protection, leads me to reflect how far I was and how many times I proclaimed Him King, but not in my heart. My love for Jesus was lukewarm, uncommitted and aging in some aspects, thank God with the passage of time this was changing.
Saju: What do you say about Mounty Thursday?
Gabi: Mounty Thursday is a day of universal love and fraternity. It is also to share the chrism Mass, giving thanks to God for the vocation of so many men and women who, in spite of everything, said yes to Jesus and followed Him. It is an encounter of gratitude, of appreciating the importance of priesthood, their service and the Holy Eucharist. Thursday is usually a day of personal prayer in the midst of everyday life. Attending the holy Mass in the evening and watching the washing of the feet is the clearest sign of humility before the brethren, and love of the one who did it first.
Saju: How profound it is!
Gabi: Then comes the moment to make the reservation and to begin to accompany Jesus to the garden of Gethsemane. Those of us who have been in the dark night of our lives can attest that it is there that I understand most everything that I have experienced in those moments of prayer where fear and anguish surpass all understanding. These last years I wanted to accompany Him, but His love is so great that he was there with me.
Saju: About Good Friday?
Gabi: Divine sorrow comforts us from our pains. On Friday I like to go to church early to pray. Following the Way of the Cross through the neighbourhood. It is a clear experience of trying, in spite of everything that happens around, to be able to look at Jesus and today I realize that life itself is like that, always beyond everything, I try to look at Him. Time of prayer, of being with the family, but of wanting to be alone with Jesus.
Saju: Our Lady also suffered that day.
Gabi: Yes, Our Lady of Sorrows reflects the mothers who suffer for their children with serious problems. We learned to contemplate Our Lady in her pain, and to look at Her as an example of knowing how to accept God’s will and to trust, trust always. Also accompanying mothers who have children in prison, drug addiction, prostitution, gambling, alcoholism, etc.
Saju: And the Holy Saturday
Gabi: On Saturday I remain at hope in the middle of nowhere and I try to continue in that recollection, living Saturday is in a way like going back to the routine, they are hours of thinking about many things, while we make the food, we organize little by little the return to work, which we resume on Monday.
Saju: Easter is something that fills you with a lot of joy, isn’t it?
Gabi: It is Victory and joy. The fire, the light, the Pachal Candle, the candles, the proclamation, the Word of God, His presence, etc. All renews hope, although every year there are fewer of us. It is a very special and high solemn holy Mass. Where light fills the darkness of the world in which we live. Easter Sunday, at some point, did not stop being Good Friday. In recent years I have been able to experience the joy of feeling that my faith is not in vain. I imagine Mary saying “Raboni”. I had the blessing or an experience that we could say mystical, to see Jesus once, and I can only say how marvellous Lord that you have risen, how marvellous your love, your mercy. As the years go by, it makes me yearn more for that heaven that He promised me, but I keep walking, sometimes I go behind Him, sometimes I go ahead and end up moving away, but I know that He knows me and that the moment He sees that I am about to fall, He runs to pick me up and I am once again looked at with mercy.
Saju: To conclude, what else can you tell us?
Gabi: It is very emotive when I remembered many things that I lived throughout these years.
Now you SVD’s are with the motto of the next General Chapter “Your light must shine before others” (Mt. 5:16), faithful and creative disciples in a wounded world. And Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, immersed in the life of the Trinity, we transform the world with compassion. For the realization of these I am convinced that we must receive the strength of the paschal mystery. I wish HAPPY EASTER OF RESURRECTION to all the San Arnold family members.
Saju George Aruvelil, SVD is from India. He is one of the first OTP who has gone to Argentina. He finished his theological studies for the priesthood also there. He then began his service in the education field in our SVD institutions. He obtained a licentiate in Spirituality from Pontifical University of Comillas, Madrid. He also holds a doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical University of Argentina, Buenos Aires. He also helps in the formation of laity and religious candidates. He gives retreats and leads workshops, seminars, etc. He has a radio program and writes in a local newspaper. At present he is a promoter of Laudato Si Movement for caring for the Earth together with his parish priestly pastoral activities.
Hermosa reflexión Gabriela . Dios te bendiga
Conozco a Gabriela, su entrega al Señor y a su comunidad es inmensa, de hecho su propia familia es parte de ese servicio pastoral. Creo que su semana santa sin duda es especial. Agradezco que su compromiso con los hermanos que la rodean y que acuden a ella sea profundo y generoso, pues su palabra, en mi caso, siempre me ayuda a volver la mirada en dirección al Creador. Felicidades Gabriela por ser un farol que brilla fuerte en el camino de la fe de tu parroquia y de tu familia. Felices pascuas de resurrección.
Fe, confianza y esperanza en quien todo lo puede. Dios hijo, Jesús, amén
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